Karine Polwart Newsletter

Come Away In (Again)

I bring you news of:

Come Away In EP - a NEW 5-song collection, exclusive to Hudson Club, a new monthly subscription community curated by the dedicated and creative Hudson Records team, who release many of my albums, and a host of other beauties.

Rebellious Truth Lecture - as part of Edinburgh’s Tradfest, in collaboration with the University of Edinburgh 

Spell Songs at the Natural History Museum - free streaming access until May 31st

Come Away In EP

Following Celtic Connections Festival in January, many of you got in touch about my song Come Away In. It’s a song about civic hospitality and refuge, inspired by a gorgeous wee Robert Burns poem called The Wren’s Nest. I dedicated it to new Glaswegians, including the asylum seekers and refugees of the city. I’ve since recorded a duo version with my friend and fellow Pathhead villager, the brilliant pianist Dave Milligan. We’re putting together a stripped-back album of 10 songs, including my own and some of my favourite trad songs, in time for a special Real-Bodies-In-Live-Space summer appearance, which I’ll tell you more about next time.

Meantime, I’m gifting Come Away In to Hudson Records as part of a 5-track EP for the launch of their new Hudson Club. The life-force behind Hudson Records is Andy Bell, who’s my regular touring sound engineer as well as the producer and engineer behind the wondrous Spell Songs (about which, more below). Andy is a marvel, a hard-working visionary, constantly trying to create new opportunities for musicians to share their music and ideas, and to connect with listeners, supporters and each other. This hasn’t been an easy time for the music scene, and many of us are conjuring new ways of meeting ears and earning an income. Andy believes we can support and advocate for each other by working together. That’s the ethos behind Hudson Club. And I’m on board for it.

In addition to Come Away In, there’s a first-time audio release of a solo version of Lark in the Clear Air. This song appears on Pocket of Wind Resistance (my album with Pippa Murphy) in a different arrangement. I confess I prefer this one.  

The EP features also a solo version of Rick Redbeard’s beautiful Wild Love too. I performed and filmed this at home in last year’s first lockdown, for BBC Alba’s Ceòl aig Baile.

I’m grateful to Rick for allowing me to release this solo recording (check out his own songs here).

In 2006, I wrote a trio of songs for a Radio 2 Radio Ballads documentary about living with HIV/AIDs. My 2008 album This Earthly Spell included one of those songs, Firethief. The Hudson Club EP includes another - What Will I Tell? - recorded back in 2007 with what was then the Karine Polwart Band (in addition to Inge and Stevie P, Kev McGuire played bass and Mattie Foulds played drums). 

The last song on the Come Away In EP hasn’t, as far as I’m aware, ever been released. Lovelines was co-written in fleeting session with Canadian songwriter Gordie Sampson, whilst on a trip to Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, where my children’s father is from. Gordie is a Nashville-based writer now, with songs under his belt for country A-listers such as Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban, Faith Hill and LeAnn Rimes. You can definitely hear his influence in the style. Still, I think it’s a bonnie wee thing, that’s much happier for not gathering virtual dust on a hard drive in my office. 

This is Gordie’s biggest hit to date. And it was pretty darn BIG: no. 1 Billboard Country, selling a staggering 2.7 million copies … 


Rebellious Truth 

Next Monday 10th, I’m giving the inaugural Rebellious Truth lecture to close Edinburgh’s annual Tradfest. The event is a collaboration with the School of Celtic and Scottish Studies at The University of Edinburgh. It will feature also the brilliant multi-instrumentalist and composer, Mike Vass, who is the department’s Artist in Residence, in collaboration with multi-instrumentalist, Mairearad Green. 

I’ll be digging into what our national folk song archives reveal about intimate, domestic acts of rebellion by women throughout our history, and how this connects to contemporary experiences of domestic abuse and sexual violence. 


Spell Songs at The Natural History Museum

If you missed last week’s live stream Spell Songs concert from the incredible Hintze Hall of the Natural History Museum in London, then fear not! It’s available to stream free until May 31st. I can’t really overstate how special this gig was. The fit of the location to the theme of the songs. The delight and privilege of playing live in a room with other people.  How much I love making music with, and just being around, those other people. 

Later this month, we’re off to the legendary Real World Studios to record our second album. Expect songs of Curlew, Oak and Jay, Bramble, Gorse and Swallow, Red Fox and Snow Bunting. And all of it informed by the beautiful, tender work of Jackie Morris and Robert McFarlane.


Thanks, as ever, for your ongoing support.

Karine x













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